Engle Matrix Games

Matrix Game Rules: Start with a problem. Say what happens next. There is no order of play. Anyone can add to or alter what happens. All players may ask a player to roll if they don't like what they said. Roll 2d6. 7+ The action happens and cannot be altered. 6- It does not happen and cannot happen in the game. The game ends when the problem is solved.

That is the short form of Matrix Game rules. But of course it isn't that simple. There are MANY ways to play Matrix Games. One common form is for players to make arguments for what happens next. They say an action, a result from the action, and three reasons why it happens. A referee decides what they need to roll to succeed and other players may make counter-arguments for what they think happens instead. Players then roll to see which happens. There are many ways to do this but the oldest version of the rules used a sudden death roll off. Each player rolls for their own argument. If they pass their roll, they stay in the competition. If they fail, they drop out of the contest. The last argument standing happens. Events unfold and the players find out what happens.

For games to work, Matrix Games need a scenario. This is the "Matrix" of Matrix Games. A scenario lays out a matrix of information about the game world which key the players in on what they are to do. It may include maps, lists of characters, a central problem to be solved, lists of ideas and much more. The scenario doesn't say everything that can happen but gives a flavor of what might happen. The player's minds fill in the blanks to form a complete picture.

Matrix Games were invented by Chris Engle in 1988 and are used in a wide variety of settings. Some are for fun and others for matters as serious as military planning and psychotherapy.

The purpose of this page is to make available free copies of non-commercial Matrix Games for anyone to use.

Chris Engle


The First Matrix Game Article from 1988. By Chris Engle

The Second Article on Matrix Games in which the name Matrix Game is coined. By Chris Engle

The Classical Matrix Game. This is the fullest development of the original Matrix Game from 1992. By Chris Engle

PBOM Politics by Other Means. A simple miniatures battle game build around matrix arguments.

HG Wells Floor Games Rules. This describes how HG Wells might have played with his sons in 1911.

Burn the Witch! A witch hunting game set in 17th Century New England.

Harry Potter Adventure. A game about Harry potter and his friends set in Hogworts. This is a fan homage to one of my favorite books.

Cthulhu Adventure. A horror game set in the world of HP Lovecraft.

The Game of Thrones. A game set some time after the Red Wedding.

Conan the Barbarian. Based mainly on the movies on the 1980's.

Firefly/Serenity. Based on the cult classic SF show.

If you want to buy a game check out these offerings

Drive thru RPG

Wargame Vault

Noble Knight Games search for Hamster Press